The Historical Society of Wells & Ogunquit cares for over 15,000 items in its museum and archives as part of its mission to preserve the history of the two Maine towns. One of our dearest items is a World War I trench coat worn by Roby Perkins Littlefield, who was born in Ogunquit in 1888 and served as a Lieutenant with the 305th Field Artillery, 77th Division in World War I. While deployed in France, Roby served as a forward military Observer in the battles of Verdun and Argonne. He stated that he was most proud of his military service and described his experience:
“I went up to the front to replace the observer. Two died of disease, and three were killed before me. I went up with Lieutenant Graham. We were on the Veil River, and after ten days, I was relieved. We went back to the lines, and we had to dig holes to live in. We dug one big hole and covered it with branches so we could have a light at night, but we moved out because somebody upset a can of Karo Corn Syrup. We had another fox hole that Lieutenant Graham and I shared. I moved out of that to go back to the front. Lieutenant Graham was killed in the hole where I’d slept the night before…”
We recently discovered that Roby's trench coat needs significant restoration work. Please help us honor Roby's service and all those who have sacrificed for our freedom. Our Executive Director, Bryce Waldrop, put it well: “Having a tangible item like the
Littlefield trench coat quickly and deeply connects visitors to the people involved in World War I. After more than a century, the story of Roby Littlefield still resonates, and will likely always resonate, with us as Americans.”
Any amount is greatly appreciated. For more information, please visit https://www.wellsogunquithistory.org. Thank you!
Roby Perkins Littlefield in 1917